As I researched this event that was known as International Day of the Deaf, it was also referred to Deaf Awareness Day. I was surprised to find Cambodia knowing that it is a developed country and had a history of human rights oppression such as the Killing Fields to take the initiative to march in the streets for their rights In 2003, they actually formed a march and spread their message to declare the equal rights of Deaf people. They hosted a series of workshop and included some of the World Deaf Federation (WDF) representatives giving empowerment to the Deaf. On the other hand, I find it interesting that Cuba celebrates International Day of the Deaf for a different reason. It stated that "Cubans will celebrate the International Day of the Deaf tomorrow knowing that 18 of the island's children have had their hearing restored thanks to cochlear inner-ear implant surgery." That was held last year.
Now, it seems to me that the objective has evolved into celebrating International Day of the Deaf by adding Sign Languages. When looking at the powerpoint presented by Markku Jokinen, the President of WDF, he pointed out the history of linguistic oppression.
"In December of 2006, the UN General Assembly adopted the new Convention on the Human Rights of Persons with Disabilities. The following stage of the process is also very important. On March 31st representatives of the UN member states gathered in New York for the opening for signatures. After this the convention is sent out to the states for them to ratify. We hope that as many states as possible ratify the convention, and we hope that all national Deaf associations monitor the situation and attempt to influence their governments to ratify the convention. Through ratifying, the governments also commit to changing their national legislation in accordance with the requirements of the convention, which in turn will improve the rights of the Deaf to Sign Language, interpreting, and education. So I sincerely hope you monitor the situation and the actions taken by your governments."
I am impressed with his knowledge and commitment to fight for the rights of the Deaf to Sign Language, interpreting and education. His website is fantastic in my opinion so check it out!
One more thing, there is a website that explains about the history of International Mother Language Day which was founded in 2000 and this is something we can recognize and be inspired as well.
Have a great first annual International Day of Sign Languages celebration and don't forget to wear black to remember Deaf people who are deprived from visual linguistic rights!For more information, see the video clip link.